by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Education Committee Oversight Chairperson Speaker Judi Won Pat says the Department of Education has funding in its current fiscal year budget that is sufficient to get them through the end of the month to prevent the closure of schools. Won Pat met with Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood on Thursday and the two were able to work through the numbers.
The speaker said that funds were identified during the meeting that have not yet been released by the Bureau of Budget & Management Research. DOE had requested it be allowed to utilize Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations to get them through the current fiscal year, but Won Pat stated, "There is no need to use next year's money to cover this shortfall...there is no reason to shut down schools."
She added the governor must release the funds from existing appropriations, but DOE must provide specific information on where the department is short to demonstrate the need that's been identified.
The superintendent has said the department needs $8 million to get through this fiscal year and avoid school closures. Underwood also certified an emergency for the department prompting the Guam Education Policy Board to hold an emergency meeting on Friday at 6pm.